What Is Trigeminal Neuralgia? Common Signs Of Nerve Pain
Over 1.5 billion people are affected by chronic pain worldwide. Chronic pain can impact someone’s ability to complete simple everyday tasks and can significantly impact their overall quality of life. Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is considered one of the most painful chronic pain disorders. To help you have a better understanding of this disorder, this article is going to provide a brief overview of the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for those affected by trigeminal neuralgia pain.
What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Trigeminal neuralgia, also called tic douloureux, is a chronic pain disorder that affected the fifth cranial nerve, or the trigeminal, which is one of the most widely distributed nerves in the head. TN is a type of neuropathic pain, or pain related to either a nerve injury or lesion. For those who are affected by TN, even mild stimulation of their face may cause excruciating pain. TN causes extreme and sudden burning or shock-like pain in areas like the lips, eyes, nose, forehead, and jaw. These pain attacks may begin as short and mild but trigeminal neuralgia can progress into longer, more frequent episodes of pain. This disorder is more common in women than men and is also more likely to affect those who are older than the age of 50.
Causes and Symptoms of TN
TN is caused by the disruption of the trigeminal nerve’s function. This disruption may occur from aging or may be related to disorders, like multiple sclerosis, that damage the myelin sheath that protects certain nerves. Additionally, this disorder may be caused by tumors, brain lesions, or other abnormalities. Symptoms of TN may include:
- Sudden attacks of pain triggered by touching the face
- Extreme pain episodes lasting from seconds to several minutes
- Episodes of attacks that last days, weeks, or months
- Constant burning feeling
- Pain in the cheeks, jaw, teeth, lips, eyes, or forehead
- Pain in one side of the face or focused in one area
- Attacks of pain become more severe over time
Trigeminal Neuralgia Treatment
Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options to provide relief from pain caused by TN. Traditional methods of treatment usually include medication as well as surgeries like Microvascular Decompression, Balloon Compression, and Radiofrequency Lesioning. However, there are less invasive treatment options as well. For example, ultrasound therapy is commonly used in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia pain. Ultrasound devices can provide a frequency and intensity that helps reduce pain caused by TN. This is an effective option and eliminates the risks that come with surgery or pain medications.
Trigeminal neuralgia pain can severely affect a person’s life. However, with the help of an experienced doctor and a correct diagnosis, those who suffer from TN can manage their pain and increase their quality of life.